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City Parks as Persons: Legal innovation or Colonial Appropriation?

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Published on Nov 26, 2019

Should Vancouver’s Stanley Park have the legal status of ‘person’?

Designating parks as persons opens potential new forms of governance, including Indigenous-led parks management boards and enhanced environmental stewardship. Dr. Flynn explores the unique legal origins of person hood for Colombia’s Atrato River and New Zealand’s TeUrewera park, cautioning against the use of universal legal designations like ‘person’ without attention to existing colonial structures. Advocating for a commitment to the nuances of local Indigenous-led movements and Indigenous laws, and knowledge and attention to the colonial structures that form existing property rights and governance models, prior to the designation of personhood for parks Dr. Flynn explores legal innovations in parks as ‘persons’.

Dr. Alexandra Flynn
Assistant Professor, University of British Columbia
Peter A. Allard School of Law

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